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CV successes: your ultimate list of dos and don’ts

When it comes to job hunting, it’s normal to feel anxious.

Searching for a new role can be particularly stressful, whether you are transitioning to life on civvy street, searching for your first job out of the army, looking for a step up in your career or are interested in making the move overseas.

But the good news is that there’s one part of the recruitment process you can be completely in control of: your CV. 

Get it right, and chances are you could be selected for an interview. Get it wrong, however, and your application could be overlooked. Your CV is the first thing a potential employer sees when you apply for a job, so it’s really important to make an impression for all the right reasons.

With that in mind, we share our ultimate list of dos and don’ts and expert advice on how to write a successful CV below

Do include a personal statement

Your CV is essentially a sales document – so it makes sense to begin your sales pitch with a snappy personal statement that rounds up what you can offer.

First impressions are important, and hiring managers are often pushed for time, so including a short personal profile to let them know why they should stop and read your CV is a great way to grab their attention.

It only needs to be a few lines. For example, if you are applying for an Apache mechanic role, your profile could say “Experienced Apache mechanic with a decade in the aviation industry who is highly competent in the repair and maintenance of aircraft components”.

And don’t forget to put the important information upfront

Once you’ve got your potential employer’s attention, it’s important to keep it – and one way to do so is to make sure all the information they need is front and centre.

Put your experience and qualifications in reverse chronological order, starting with your current position and working backwards. If you’re stuck for ideas, follow this order: personal statement, work experience, qualifications, education, interests, then references.

Do highlight your relevant experience

When it comes to creating the perfect CV, it’s important to highlight your industry skills. Depending on the role you are applying for, potential employers will be looking for clear evidence of a specific skills set, so make sure you include all relevant experience.

For example, be sure to highlight the types of equipment you have worked on and the different systems you have used. Perhaps you’ve worked as a HGV mechanic or you have three years’ maintenance experience on tracked vehicles. Whatever your niche, make sure you shout out about it!

You should also be sure to include any relevant licenses and qualifications too. If you’re applying for a warehouse worker role, for example, and have a forklift license, make sure you say so!

But don’t panic if you don’t have specific experience

The great thing about defence contract roles is that there are positions available at all levels – so, if you are moving to a new industry and don’t have specific experience, your transferable skills can still put you in good stead.

For example, do you have excellent attention to detail? Are you responsible and reliable? Can you work well in a team? 

Problem-solving, time-management skills and the ability to work together are all vital to the defence industry, whether you are working in an administrative, mechanical, or engineering role.

Organisational skills and communication skills are essential too – so be sure to mention these transferrable skills on your CV! Find out more about the skills essentials for the defence industry.

Do create a master copy

One of the best things you can do to ease up the job-hunting process is to create a master CV that includes info on every position you’ve ever had. This CV is just for you, so it can be as long as you want, but it’s a really good idea to keep a list of all the work experience you’ve had in one place.

You should also update it regularly too so that when it comes to applying for a job, you can select the relevant info from your master copy and be completely sure you haven't forgotten anything.

But don’t forget to tweak it for each job

Every time you apply for a job, your CV should be tailored towards the role you’re applying for. Go over the job description and make sure you have included examples of the necessary skills and experience that are relevant and be sure to tweak your personal profile too. 

If you can, it’s a good idea to try to include keywords and industry terminology throughout to show your depth of understanding. Finally, make sure all the examples you include are relevant too.

Do make sure your CV is clear and concise

The most effective CVs are short, sweet and to the point. Recruiters may review hundreds of CVs a day, so having a short and snappy CV means they are much more likely to read it. Remember, a CV should be a brief synopsis of your suitability for the role, not a blow-by-blow account of your career history.

Ideally, your CV should be two pages long, but it should never be more than three sides of A4. You can wax lyrical on your experience when you get to the interview stage – your CV is just a teaser to get your foot in the door!

And of course, don’t be afraid to ask for help!

If you still need help and guidance on how to write a successful CV, it’s time to ask the experts! At M&E Global, we are experts in defence recruitment and there’s nothing we don’t know about how to craft the perfect CV.

Looking for additional help with your CV?

Whether you have tons of experience or are just starting out, we can help you create a CV that commands attention – and we’ll even proofread it and help with formatting so you can ensure you make the right impression!

To find out more about the roles we are currently working on, or to speak to one of our consultants about how to write a successful CV, contact us today. Alternatively, why not download this guide for more expert CV advice.

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